Review: Niner Jet 9 Carbon

The Jet 9 Carbon is Niner's cross-country offering featuring 100mm of rear wheel travel. Although it boasts the same front triangle as its R.D.O (Race Day Optimized) bigger brother, the "Carbon" version as tested has an alloy rear triangle to keep costs in check.

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The Frame


The Jet 9 Carbon features a carbon front triangle and an alloy rear with the suspension design being Niner's own patented CVA (Constantly Varying Arc) dual-link rear suspension.

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Available in a full size curve from XS to XL, the small and up all have space for a water bottle in the front triangle and one under the downtube, while the XS only has space for a bottle mount under the downtube. The frame comes standard with titanium frame guards to keep your chain from eating into the chainstays. Depending on specific models, there is enough clearance to run a 2.4" tire. Most Jet 9 owners would probably not go wider than 2.25" in the rear, but it's great to see enough clearance to run wider tires and more than enough space to keep mud from building up and slowing you down.

Internal routing and provision for a dropper seatpost are nice detailed touches. The entry ports on the head tube look a bit messy though and will require some form of D.I.Y to keep them neat and fresh for longer.


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Features:

  • Carbon full suspension front triangle with alloy rear triangle
  • 100MM of CVA suspension is efficient in every chainring
  • Compatible with 100-120MM Tapered Forks
  • Tuned for CVA – Rock Shox Monarch RT with Fast Black coating
  • Forged alloy suspension linkage and unique Niner hardware
  • 142x12MM rear spacing
  • PF30 bottom bracket
  • Extra small size with industry leading standover
  • Available in: Orange/Blaze Yellow or Black/Slate Grey
Full specification:
The Jet 9 Carbon as tested here is the 2015 spec. 2016 will sport a Shimano XT M8000 11-speed drivetrain and Rock Shox Pike.

 

[spec_list][spec_list_row=Frame]JET 9 CARBON - Orange/Blaze Yellow and Black/Slate Grey[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row=Fork]ROCKSHOX REBA RLT 120MM[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row=Wheels]NINER ALLOY, 100X15MM FRONT, 142 X 12MM REAR, NINER GRAPHIC[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row=Tires]SCHWALBE RACING RALPH[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row="Brakes and Rotors"]SHIMANO XT, 180/160MM ROTORS[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row="Brake Levers"]SHIMANO XT[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row="Front Derailleur"]SHIMANO XT M785[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row="Front Shifter"]SHIMANO XT M785[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row="Rear Derailleur"]SHIMANO XT M785[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row="Rear Shifter"]SHIMANO XT M785[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row=Cassette]SHIMANO XT M785[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row=Chain]SHIMANO XT[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row=Crankset]SHIMANO XT M785 [/spec_list_row][spec_list_row="Bottom Bracket"]SHIMANO[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row=Saddle]NINER CUSTOM WITH CR-MO RAILS, NINER GRAPHIC[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row="Seat post"]NINER CARBON SEAT POST, 400MM, NINER GRAPHIC[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row=Handlebar]NINER FLAT TOP CARBON, 710MM, NINER GRAPHIC[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row="Stem "]FSA SL-K[/spec_list_row][spec_list_row=Grips]NINER GRRRIPS L/O NYLON[/spec_list_row][/spec_list]

Components


Fork: At first I was a little disappointed to see a a Reba on a carbon Niner. That did not last long as I was pleasantly surprised by the feel of the fork out on the trail. The Reba deals well with trail clutter and felt balanced with the Monarch doing shock duty.

 


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Wheels: Niner's own wheels have been spec'ed on the Jet and they were up to the task. A wider rim would be nice and will allow the Jet 9 Carbon to venture even deeper into Trail riding territory.


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Drivetrain: One simply can not fault Shimano's XT groupset. Shifting was sharp and precise, and I liked riding a 2x drivetrain for a change.

Tires: Schwalbe Racing Ralphs and fairly narrow rims do not make for a confidence boosting combo. I suppose the pairing is not out of place on a 100mm Marathon / XC racing bike, but wider rims or gripper tires will make for a more fun experience.

Brakes: As with the XT drivetrain, the XT brakes deliver no matter what bike they are on. Just make sure you have the right size rotor for your riding and you should be okay for anything short of the fastest, hardest types of riding.

Handlebar: Another spec choice from the Niner parts bin. At 710mm wide it was a bit narrow for my liking, but will most likely be spot on for most XC or marathon riders. I'd still like to see that bumped up to 725mm at least.


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Grips: I'm not a big fan of foam grips and I prefer lock-ons, but I'd assume foam grips are specced most of the time to save some weight. I'd rather have all-day comfort than save a couple of grams. The Niner grips were quite comfortable though, but in heavier, technical terrain they started to show their shortcomings. Again, not something that will or should be a problem for most XC or Marathon riders.

On The Trail


Niner prides themselves on the claim that their CVA (Continually Variable Arc) suspension design is designed to pedal well in any size chainring. Having recently ridden the 11-speed R.I.P. and this Jet that came equipped with a 2 x 10 Shimano drivetrain, I can confirm that both bikes pedalled really well regardless of what gear they are in. To the point where you can leave the shock in its full open setting and let the suspension do the work for you. This is music to my ears as it means when setting up the suspension one can truly go for the optimal setting rather than try and find a good (compromised) middle ground. I'm sure hardcore racers will prefer to lock the rear out, but for most trail riders there will be no need to tinker once happy with the set up.

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Although on paper its geometry is squarely in the XC mould, on the trails it leans towards the feel of a trail bike. Some of that is thanks to the 120mm fork which slackens the head angle out to 70.5° - down from 71.5° with a 100mm fork, depending on axle to crown and tires of course. Thankfully the seat tube angle stays a climb-friendly 73.5° with a 120mm fork.

The Jet 9 was happy to tackle both smooth flowy single track and trails with more challenges thrown in. Its neutral feel gives the rider a lot of confidence and all attention can be focused on the trail and having some fun. Pedaling is very good which helps take some effort out of long climbs. Put the gas down out of a corner and the Jet 9 leaps forward with little to no signs of squat under power. Tackling short, steep technical climbs that need a burst of power was especially rewarding on the Jet 9, as the combination of he CVA suspension and the bike's overall geometry works together. District gravel and fire roads are disposed of with a focused tenacity and vigour - hardly causing the Jet 9 to break a sweat.


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Verdict


I have to admit that Niner Bikes have a "coolness factor" that is hard to explain. I think it's a mixture of the way they go about their business, cool graphics and colours, beautiful design (very subjective, I know) and, of course, the way their bikes ride. Or maybe their marketing just works well on me!

There can however be no doubt that the Niner is a natural climber that is happy to have some fun if its rider is up for it. There are limits to what a XC focused bike with 100mm travel can do. Stick to those confines and chances are you will have a blast riding your Jet 9 Carbon.

More information and pricing available here.




16 Comments

rock, Nov 09 2015 08:12

at last a carbon bike not made in China :)

Hilton., Nov 09 2015 08:17

No mention of price as tested, or overall build weight?

 

I do love that hot tamale colour, and I gotta admit the curvaceous looks are growing on me.

Odinson, Nov 09 2015 08:20

What caused the nasty chip/hole fore of the BB shell?

Niner SA, Nov 09 2015 08:51

No mention of price as tested, or overall build weight?

 

I do love that hot tamale colour, and I gotta admit the curvaceous looks are growing on me.

All the pricing and the 2016 spec is on http://niner.co.za :)

EugeneS, Nov 09 2015 08:52

No mention of price as tested, or overall build weight?

 

I do love that hot tamale colour, and I gotta admit the curvaceous looks are growing on me.

Pricing from First Look Friday:

Pricing

JET 9 Carbon XT 1x R59,109.30
JET 9 Carbon XT 2x R61,858.57
Frame only R27,221.03

Hairy, Nov 09 2015 09:40

that is a rather sexy looking bike

Captain Fastbastard Mayhem, Nov 09 2015 09:53

I've seen this thing in the flesh, and the colour is, well, LOUD!

 

Looks damn good though. 

Eldron, Nov 09 2015 09:57

I luuuuurv my JET RDO. It is a slightly older model but still rocket fast :-) See what I did there?

 

At the risk of sounding like a Ninerphile (I readily confess that I am) - it is the fastest duallie I've ridden.

 

Mine is 11.6kg with Reba fork, 2x10 XTR, Citec Ascender S wheels and a fairly ordinary PRO Koryak finishing kit (all alu), Maxxis Ardent Race/Ikon combo.

rock, Nov 09 2015 10:08

Pricing from First Look Friday:

Pricing

JET 9 Carbon XT 1x R59,109.30
 

 

 

Pricing isn't actually that outrageous if you consider the price of a Momsen Vipa

raptor-22, Nov 09 2015 03:06

Indeed and weight penalty over carbon rear triangle is nothing

Niner SA, Nov 10 2015 12:14

I've seen this thing in the flesh, and the colour is, well, LOUD!

 

Looks damn good though. 

We glad you liked it :)

LOOK695, Nov 10 2015 01:40

We glad you liked it :)

You have a PM!

Niner SA, Nov 10 2015 02:09

that is a rather sexy looking bike

We think so too :D

Hairy, Nov 10 2015 02:55

We think so too :D

If you guys ever have a large RIP or ROS 9 lying about in CT looking for a dirty weekend or two please let me know ;)

Hairy, Nov 13 2015 10:30

I keep clicking on this link......the rather loud colours on this bike really works for me and it is nice having another look every other day :)

Niner SA, Nov 17 2015 08:25

I keep clicking on this link......the rather loud colours on this bike really works for me and it is nice having another look every other day :)

We know the feeling!